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Au takes painting out of the clouds

Updated: 05 07 , 2013 19:39

Fang, a student of the school's founder Gao Jianfu (1879-1951), is internationally known as the leader in the reform of Chinese figure painting, which started in the 1930s, ahead of even Xu Beihong (1895-1953) and Jiang Zhaohe (1904-86).

Born in 1935 in south China's Guangdong Province, Au is the representative of a later generation of Lingnan School artists than Fang.

The school, as the name implies (Lingnan means "south of the mountains"), has its roots in the south of the country, in Guangdong, especially in the provincial capital Guangzhou.

It established itself as one of the three major schools in the tide of reform in Chinese painting at the beginning of the 20th century, the other two being the Beijing-Tianjin School and the Shanghai School.

At a time when traditional Chinese painting had almost been driven into a dead end by its 800-year-old emphasis on an aloofness towards worldly affairs, Gao Jianfu (1879-1951), Gao Qifeng (1889-1933) and Chen Shuren (1884-1948), co-founded the Lingnan School.

Since the three masters, generations of the school's artists, with a youthful passion and boldness, have been "experimenting with the problem of finding an East-West synthesis in painting and developing a consistent solution," remarked renowned artist Fu Baoshi (1904-65).

"Whatever makes a moving, effective picture, we will adopt. We seek to renovate, to create and recreate constantly. We hope that the day will come when people will understand the true nature of the Lingnan School," said Au.

"A school should never be defined by certain fixed techniques. Our school is defined by an idea for which the founders were constantly criticized by their contemporaries, and by which their followers have been endowed with the courage to create," he added.

Au has been widely recognized as the leader of his generation of the school's artists. He was student of artist Zhao Shao'ang (1905-98), and is the Huagang Chair Professor of Art at the University of Chinese Culture in Taipei.

Editor:Li Guixiang.

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